If you have never stepped inside Gemeinschaft Home—you really should plan a visit. The old farmhouse embodies a spirit that is apparent from the moment you walk through the door.
While there is a lot of anxiety associated with leaving prison to re-enter society, former inmates who arrive at Gemeinschaft Home’s front porch bring with them a sense of hope—if only for a fleeting moment—about taking the next step in their lives.
The transition in itself is a jarring experience, and residents are challenged constantly to overcome a range of concerns, from adjusting to a new living space and daily schedule, to finding a job and reconnecting with estranged family members. Yet with every new resident, there is a regeneration of hope that stirs the air and lingers long after individual residents have come and gone.
The cumulative effect is pleasant and calm on most days, not withstanding the occasional misunderstandings, disputes, and other dramatic forms that emerge when forty men from all walks of life converge in one house and must find a way to live together in a positive and supportive way.
There is never a dull moment, and, of course, there are times when some residents have more bad days than good ones. But, overall for those residents who are ready “to walk the journey,” as executive director, Sharon Ringgold would say, Gemeinschaft Home exudes a warm energy for anyone choosing to embrace it.
At certain times of the day, the house is quieter, when the majority of residents are at work, but generally there is a flutter of activity and chatter throughout the hallways and rooms of Gemeinschaft Home. Residents share bedrooms, prepare meals and eat together, and maintain a list of chores that includes cleaning the bathrooms and all communal spaces.
The landscape surrounding the house contributes significantly to the gentle environment of Gemeinschaft Home; the spacious wraparound porch offers stunning vistas of the mountains and nearby farmland. Residents are generally cordial and welcome conversations with visitors.
Summer is the perfect time to take a tour of the house and to get to know some of its residents—even if you want to just enjoy a view of the mountain scenery.